Hey pals!!! We officially have less than 24 hours left in Berlin and let me tell you, time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like just yesterday when my bag got lost in the London airport. Good times. But in actuality, a lot has occurred in what seems like the blink of a eye.
Berlin has challenged me. I didn’t know what to expect coming into Cultural Routes, but what I’ve found is that this experience is just that, an experience. My short time in Berlin has pushed me to learn through being present. The moments where I am fully engaged in the activity at hand just for the sake of understanding are the moments where growth is the most abundant. By sinking into every experience that Berlin has offered, I have learned far more about the history in front of me than I could have in any classroom.
The way that Germany acknowledges and remembers its history is far different than I anticipated. Not only does Germany take ownership of the pain in its past, but it uses the tragedies to propel its future into one of restoration that doesn’t resemble its past failures. The people of Germany don’t run from their past, but rather, speak openly in remembrance of their horrific years. They seek to understand why their past occurred so that they can piece together why they function the way that they do, and how they can call themselves to higher standards from now on.
“The frank discussion on Germany’s past is one of the major achievements of our political culture and the foundation of our understanding of ourselves as a nation in a free Europe.”Found on a plaque across the street from the Memorial of the Murdered Jews
This picture that Germany paints for the rest of the world is one of new beginnings. Germany is walking the fine line between wallowing in their past and pushing the past away, all while doing so in a beautiful way. I think this is a lesson that we could all stand to learn; our past decisions, good or bad, wrong or right, have shaped who we are today. It is our job to accept where we once were but realize that there is always room for growth. We have the choice to either stand idly in what once was, or move forward to pave what can be. I am grateful to be on this experience with 17 others that also demonstrate how to chase after growth while shamelessly acknowledging the challenges that they have experienced up until now.
So here’s to this experience, and the incredible people I get to share it with. I hope each of the five remaining cities bring just as many challenges and opportunities to grow as Berlin did.
All my love,